Professor At Center Of Trump-Russia Probe Summarized FBI Interview In Email To The Bureau
- Joseph Mifsud is a key figure in the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government
- Mifsud, a Maltese professor, told former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that Russia had “thousands” of Hillary Clinton emails
- Mifsud emailed the FBI on Feb. 11, 2017, just after he was interviewed by investigators. He downplayed his contacts with Papadopoulos.
Shortly after being interviewed by the FBI early last year, the mystery professor at the center of the Trump-Russia investigation emailed the bureau with a recap of the interview.
The email, reported by The Hill, seemingly shows what Mifsud told FBI agents during a Feb. 11, 2017 interview in Washington, D.C.
According to The Hill, Mifsud downplayed his interactions with George Papadopoulos, denying that there was anything nefarious in his dealings with the former Trump campaign adviser.
Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his interactions with Mifsud, a former Maltese diplomat who until recently was based in London. Papadopoulos told FBI agents during a Jan. 27, 2017 interview that Mifsud mentioned to him during an April 2016 meeting that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails. (RELATED: Papadopoulos’ Wife: Former Trump Aide Was ‘Absolutely Not’ Involved In Collusion)
Papadopoulos, who faces sentencing in his case on Sept. 7, admitted that he falsely told the FBI that he communicated with Mifsud before he joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.
Papadopoulos, 30, is said to be the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. It is still unclear when the FBI learned of the former Trump aide’s contacts with Mifsud. Instead, it was a conversation that Papadopoulos had on May 10, 2016 with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that the FBI would use to open the collusion probe in late July 2016.
Downer claimed that Papadopoulos made a reference to Russians having derogatory information on Clinton.
In his email to the FBI, Mifsud said that he and Papadopoulos mostly discussed “wide geo-strategic issues” and that “cybersecurity was never the direct object of any of our communications.”
Mifsud, who was interviewed by the FBI in Washington, D.C., after attending an event hosted by the State Department, wrote that he and Papadopoulos discussed “how the Trump then-campaign team looked to develop a conversation on Europe/UK…and with Russia” as well as “the fallout in policy in the deteriorating relationship between the major countries in the world today.”
Campaign emails show that Papadopoulos attempted to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials. Email traffic shows that campaign officials rebuffed the suggestion of holding meetings.
Mifsud also acknowledged that he introduced Papadopoulos to Ivan Timofeev, a program director at a Russian think tank.
On April 18, 2016, Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to Timofeev, who claimed to have connections to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to government filings.
Papadopoulos and Timofeev remained in contact for several weeks and attempted to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. (RELATED: Mueller Claims Papadopoulos Hindered Russia Investigation)
“Dr. Timofeev and I have been collaborating for a number of years on a number of geo-strategic issues, mainly pertaining to publications/training for diplomats/international experts on energy security and their implications on international relations,” Mifsud wrote to the FBI, adding that “after speaking to both individuals, I put them in contact with each other.”
“The intent of that ‘bridging’ was specifically of a geo-political nature and not tied in any way or form to cybersecurity,” Mifsud wrote.
“It was to create a mutual understanding on world affairs and how we can contribute to peace and stability.”
Mifsud said that he reviewed his documents and found nothing pertaining to the FBI’s questions about possible collusion.
“The issues that you specifically asked me about in your questions this morning did not feature in any of our email conversations as far as I can see,” Mifsud wrote.
Mueller’s decision to sentence Papadopoulos in the middle of the Trump-Russia investigation suggests that Papadopoulos does not hold the keys to any collusion conspiracy, if one occurred.
Papadopoulos’s wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos has told The Daily Caller News Foundation that her husband did not see, handle or disseminate any of the emails mentioned by Mifsud. She has also said that Papadopoulos was not involved in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.